Visit Store
Visit Store
Authors > Joe Leigh Simpson, MD

Joe Leigh Simpson, MD speaks about his work within the OB/GYN field and the making of the new textbook, Obstetrics: Normal and Problem Pregnancies, 6th Edition.

The Evolution of Genetics

Genetics has moved by leaps and bounds in the last decade. The technology that allowed us to sequence the gene has become much more efficient, much more rapid, and far cheaper than we ever envisioned. When we started this book in 1986, it seemed like a pipe dream to even imagine that we could sequence the genome. Today, the genome for a single individual can be sequenced relatively inexpensively, which is not only exciting for academicians like myself but holds a great deal of promise for patient care. The T-21 test is pivotal because instead of having to do an invasive procedure — chorionic villus sampling or amniocentesis — we can now, with a high level of confidence, take a sample of maternal blood, recover the DNA from the fetus that finds its way into the mother’s circulation, and make a diagnosis based on that. We can do that for a selective number of conditions now, and we can speculate and dream and expect reality to come true for a huge number of additional conditions.

About Obstetrics: Normal and Problem Pregnancies

The art really sets Obstetrics: Normal and Problem Pregnancies, 6th Edition apart. Since the first edition, when a single illustrator was hired to put together all of the illustrations for all of the chapters, the art in this book — particularly in the anatomy section — represents widely used classics. You see the same thing in this edition: the judicious but effective use of coloring, the exciting layouts.

The Move to Digital

I think it’s worth pointing out that Elsevier has struck a nice balance between not rushing entirely to the electronic media and online books, yet being prepared for the time when the customer demands it. So we’re in an interregnum, shall we say, in which some people still like a hard copy of a book, and others wouldn’t be caught dead with a hard-copy book, they want everything on their smart phone. So there is a balance there: if one moves too rapidly or too slowly you’ve lost the market, both in terms of peer-reviewed journals as well as textbooks. And I do think I have a lot of respect for the company in terms of balancing that, realizing that there is a diverse market out there — all portions of which really need to be met.


Joe Leigh Simpson, MD serves as executive associate dean for Academic Affairs, professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology, and professor of Human and Molecular Genetics at Florida International University College of Medicine in Miami. Dr. Simpson widely recognized as an expert in genetic prenatal diagnosis and reproductive genetics, and his research in the field has been funded by the National Institutes of Health. He is the author of more than 700 articles and chapters and 15 books, including the sixth edition of Obstetrics: Normal and Problem Pregnancies.

After completing his medical education at Duke University, Dr. Simpson trained in obstetrics and gynecology and pediatrics at Cornell University Medical College. He is active in numerous professional organizations, and has served as president for the American Society of Reproductive Medicine, president of the International Society of Prenatal Diagnosis, president of the Society for Gynecologic Investigation, president of the American College of Medical Genetics, and president of the Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis International Society. Dr. Simpson has served on the NICHD Board of Scientific Counselors and the March of Dimes Scientific Advisory Committee.

Related Authors: Steven G. Gabbe, MD; Jennifer R. Niebyl, MD; Henry L. Galan, MD; Eric R. M. Jauniaux, MD, PhD; Mark B. Landon, MD; Deborah A. Driscoll, MD